[blogger’s notes:  this post is NOT an official peace theatre release. just another sista outsider view on what’s going on in her hood, like with…..]

The Space Between –  the final frontier

60 children and youth and 12 of Toronto’s finest artists were on a mission to explore faith and reason, to seek out truth and understanding

To boldly go where no Theatre has gone before

Director: Liz Pounsett

Music Director: Brownman

Visual Arts Director: Jerry Silverberg

Artistic Director: Karen Emerson

This year, the 10th annual peace camp gala performance & peace is possible summer workshops were supported by a (core) collective of womben + one man, from karen emerson, susan ryan, liz pounsett, jessica salloum, angela chau, vivian sofia mora, sharon vanderveen, merril matthews to Abdul & Alixa @ the (place formerly known as the childrens) peace theatre

[blogger’s notes: disclaimer – the term collective is used strategically/loosely en creatively, the people didn’t come together specifically to work as a collective, didn’t necessarily even work as a collective, there were ofcourse boys & men involved in the work, and depending on where you look at it from, the folks mentioned are just a fraction of ‘the core’]

there was an honorary granma en granpa during the camp, the space was even visited by a few healers during rehearsals, en blessed with a joyous graduation in a celebration of the talents of many children, youth en the rest of us who worked together, and individually for (more than) 3 weeks on the production of the space between: the final frontier & the (ultimately postponed) peace is possible parade.

We will share our stories all through (the sacred moon of Black) August, in a photo & video diary of the spiral journey of n0t only the peace theatre, from 2009 to 2010, but more significantly for this place here, the re-birth of the q/t werd

http://fourwomen.wordpress.com/

But before that, I’ll tell you (part of) the story of how the (children’s) peace theatre was born, where its come from, and where this place is going….. as an institutional body, a (vision of a ) collective, and in our individual, unique journeys that intersect/ed in the heart of what we’ve dubbed as the peace forest, betwixt en between, crescent town, good wood and park vista, close to scarborough village, ideologically not that different from regent park, intrinsically connected to jane & finch, and originally from afrika.

Hadithi? Hadithi? Hadithi njoo!

Uongo njoo! Utamu kolea!

Sahani? ya mchele! Giza? Ya…….

Once upon a time, there was a turtle on whose back the world turned, underneath that turtle, was another turtle, and underneath that turtle another turtle, or so one version of a creation story goes, the bigger point is, we were born of the great goddess, came from mama afrika, and a decade ago to be exact, the children’s peace theatre was founded by Robert Morgan, en a growing in/visible collective of youth, supporters, and our communities at large…

The first peace camp was “ At The Crossroads”….the gaps and (mis)steps in our journey are the spaces between mo’ people (not) knowing about us, and mo’ folks working ‘with the group in educating in the practice of freedom, using the arts for social change, and rebuilding heathy, sustainable communities

As Robert (one of the founders of this place formerly known as the children’s peace theatre) has said:

“We place children and youth centre stage, not because they are cute or candid, but because they display humanity’s capacity to evolve, even in the harsh conditions of the current times. Young people are demonstrating an instinctive desire to move away from the dominant culture of self-interestedness and aggression, and are moving instead towards building relationships and community due to an innate desire to seek stability, safety, and peace. It is also evident that young people have the imagination and the energy that will be necessary to establish a new culture of peace. Watching young people from very different backgrounds cross paths, encounter conflict, and find creative ways of making the conflict evolve in positive directions, gives me the audacity to believe that peace is possible.”

coming soon…the space between (us and mama afrika), in the (evolushun of the) Q/T werd

The Peace of the Mango Tree

http://www.bmf.org/children/mango-tree.html

My love you, my grandchildren. Come over and sit by the mango tree. I have a question I want to ask it.

“O beautiful mango tree who gives us such refreshing shade, do you have peace? If you do, could you teach us how to have peace? You seem so cool and tranquil. What makes you this way? Can you tell us?”

Children, come closer and listen carefully to the mango tree’s answer.

“I am a member of the tree family, and you are human beings. I do not know if you can understand our peace. Even though God has given you judgment, subtle wisdom, analytic wisdom, and divine luminous wisdom, you also have qualities that cause you to take our fruits, cut us down, and destroy us.

“If you want to attain peace, do not cut down a tree, whether it is useful to you or not. And don’t cut down a man, whether he does good deeds or bad. If, because of your pride or selfishness, you think about taking revenge or deceiving and ruining another person, or of making another man suffer in any way, that will destroy your peace. It is your own state of mind that will destroy your peace. But if you can avoid bad thoughts, then you can be happy and peaceful. This is my advice to you.

“Look at me. Here I stand at the crossroads. Many people come this way. As soon as I start to blossom, they throw stones at me to make my flowers fall. They climb and swing on my branches, but I don’t mind. Even when they hit me and shake me and take my fruits, I am happy. Some people and some animals and birds like my fruits while they are still unripe. Others like them after they have ripened. When they bite into my mangoes and taste them, they become happy and peaceful, and that gives me peace. The peace they find by eating my fruits and satisfying their hunger gives me peace. When I am happy in this way, I can be so cooling and provide shade for others, and that adds to their peace and happiness. When they feel peaceful, I am peaceful. That is my secret. That is what makes me grow, bear fruit, and give cooling shade.

“If you human beings want happiness, you should be like this. No matter what happens in the world, even if you are beaten or attacked by your enemies, you should be very patient and show them compassion and love. If you help your enemies, then the peace they gain will be your peace. This is my advice to you.

” My grandchildren, did you listen carefully to what the mango tree said? Did you understand? Trees have so many good qualities, even though they were created with only three levels of consciousness. They have only feeling, awareness and intellect, but God created you with four higher levels of consciousness as well. God gave you exalted wisdom. If you would use that wisdom to attain at least the state of the mango tree, you would find peace and tranquility.

My grandchildren, as you journey through life, use your wisdom in this way. Do not waste your intelligence seeking revenge against others, because while you are chasing after someone else, your own work will be ruined. When you commit yourself to such devious work, you stray from your own path. The distance which separates you from God will become greater and greater, and you will suffer so much.

It happens this way in the world. Anyone who focuses on hurting others abandons his own path. He neglects his prayers and worship and forgets his good qualities. Because of this, he loses his peace and tranquility, and his life is subjected to sorrow and suffering. But the one who turns to God and focuses upon his own qualities, his own work, and his own path will have an exalted and serene life.

We came to this world by the command of our Father, and while we are here we must live by His commandments and establish our connection to Him. We must complete our duties in a way that fulfills those commandments, and then we must return to Him. That is our work. If we can do that, we will have peace in this world, in the next world, and in the world of the souls.

My grandchildren, think deeply about this. Do your own work and your own duty. Even when you are attacked by others, if you are good to them, it will bring peace to you. My love you. Be like the mango tree.

– M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen

ase…..

Peace is possible (prayers)

I pray for health en prosperity not only for myself, but for others. Bless our healers en peace-makers. Bless the homeless, motherless and fatherless. Bless those sick in hospital. Bless all our relatives. Bless those who pray for us, and their families. Bless our wotas en grandmama earth.

[BLOGGER’S NOTES: I give thanks that the blessings of yesterday are still here today, and I pray that they may be carried to tomorrow. I am reminded every day I go to work that “peace is possible”….. that we have to work, organise, play, reason & sing [for] it, every minute of our lives.  

I give thanks that I have such good, loving folks en pikney surrounding me, every day that I go into work, and I give thanks that I’m actually getting paid for this shit, to work for peace, and work divine/love-ly tings with government money…

I give thanks that I get to work with en teach youth right close to home, give back to my hood, and I give thanks that I was guided (to) here, where I technically/really should know more of my neighbours (forgive my sins those that I do, and don’t know about. Forgive my foolishness) ]

As we pray, we will fully understand that we are all connected. And that what we create can have lasting effects on all life.

So let us unite spiritually, All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer. Along with this immediate effort, I also ask to please remember July 23rd, Peace is Possible Parade and Prayer Day/Honoring Egungun/Sacred Sites day. Whether it is a natural site, a temple, a church, a synagogue or just your own sacred space, let us make a prayer for all life, for good decision making by our Nations, for our children¹s future and well-being, and the generations to come.

Onipikte (that we shall live),

 Open letter to Tdot;

On Friday July 23rd, children and their companions will proceed on a path of peace, before that, we’ll meet to pray for grandmother earth and all our relatives @ taylor creek park, and after we will break/fast together…..

The  ”peace-is-possible” parade plan is to converge @ the parking lot of Shopper’s World, 3003 Danforth at 10:00am,

The parade starts @ 11:00am, and we’ll parade west along the danforth to dawes road, and north to (a picnic lunch in) taylor creek park

@ 1:00pm – the matinee of ‘The Space Between’ by The Peace Camp @ the peace theatre

[blogger’s notes: one version of the peace is possible parade is something like]

Drum circle with the funketeers

6:30AM – Sunrise ceremony  – Yoruba house project

A/(c)/r/ti/vists & volunteers hub

8:00 – (community) breakfast  @ the peace theatre

9:30 – Yoga class – the people project

10:00 – Dance class – house of munro

11:00 – parade led by the samba kidz & the piper: Merril Matthews

11:30 – water stop @ Dentonia  Park United Church

11:45 – silent “B.O.P” march with LAL

 

NOON  – lunch @ taylor creek park – afghan women’s catering group

 

1300 – MATINEE: THE SPACE(S) BETWEEN – outdoor amphitheatre @ the (children’s) peace theatre

305 Dawes Road

1800 – outdoor film screening @ The peace theatre

 red lips [cages for black girls] & trailers of Walking in Victor’s shoes/Nekkyd en The q[‘t] werd series

 

2000 – tambor

Yoruba Creation Myth


In the beginning was only the sky above, water and marshland below. The chief god Olorun ruled the sky, and the god/dess Olokun ruled what was below.

Obatala, another god, reflected upon this situation, then went to Olorun for permission to create dry land for all kinds of living creatures to inhabit. He was given permission, so he sought advice from Orunmila, oldest son of Olorun and the god of prophecy.

He was told he would need a gold chain long enough to reach below, a snail’s shell filled with sand, a white hen, a black cat, and a palm nut, all of which he was to carry in a bag. All the gods contributed what gold they had, and Orunmila supplied the articles for the bag. When all was ready, Obatala hung the chain from a corner of the sky, placed the bag over his shoulder, and started the downward climb.

When he reached the end of the chain he saw he still had some distance to go. From above he heard Orunmila instruct him to pour the sand from the snail’s shell, and to immediately release the white hen. He did as he was told, whereupon the hen landing on the sand began scratching and scattering it about. Wherever the sand landed it formed dry land, the bigger piles becoming hills and the smaller piles valleys. Obatala jumped to a hill and named the place Ife. The dry land now extended as far as he could see.

He dug a hole, planted the palm nut, and saw it grow to maturity in a flash. The mature palm tree dropped more palm nuts on the ground, each of which grew immediately to maturity and repeated the process. Obatala settled down with the cat for company. Many months passed, and he grew bored with his routine. He decided to create beings like himself to keep him company. He dug into the sand and soon found clay with which to mold figures like himself and started on his task, but he soon grew tired and decided to take a break.

He made wine from a nearby palm tree, and drank bowl after bowl. Not realizing he was drunk, Obatala returned to his task of fashioning the new beings; because of his condition he fashioned many imperfect figures. Without realizing this, he called out to Olorun to breathe life into his creatures. The next day he realized what he had done and swore never to drink again, and to take care of those who were deformed, thus becoming Protector of the Deformed. The new people built huts as Obatala had done and soon Ife prospered and became a city. All the other gods were happy with what Obatala had done, and visited the land often, except for Olokun, the ruler of all below the sky. She had not been consulted by Obatala and grew angry that he had usurped so much of her kingdom.

When Obatala returned to his home in the sky for a visit, Olokun summoned the great waves of her vast oceans and sent them surging across the land. Wave after wave she unleashed, until much of the land was underwater and many of the people were drowned. Those that had fled to the highest land beseeched the god Eshu who had been visiting, to return to the sky and report what was happening to them. Eshu demanded sacrifice be made to Obatala and himself before he would deliver the message. The people sacrificed some goats, and Eshu returned to the sky.

When Orunmila heard the news he climbed down the golden chain to the earth, and cast many spells which caused the flood waters to retreat and the dry land reappear.

So ended the great flood. Ase. Ase……..


And other ‘native’ creashun story goes like…..

In the beginning the new world consisted only of vast oceans.  There was no land. Father Sky and his wife were admiring a beautiful tree – lush leaves and fruit, rich, dark bark.  Father Sky’s wife told him that she had a great vision which called for him to pull the tree up by its roots, leaving a large hole in the sky.

Father Sky was sad, for he thought the tree quite beautiful, but he also realized the power of his wife’s vision. He wrapped his arms around the tree, gave a might heave, and uprooted the tree.  Grasping hold of part of the tree, the woman looked through the hole, as she stretched a little further, she lost her footing and fell through.

The animals that were able to live in the water, turtle, beaver, whale and many others, looked up and saw the woman plummeting towards them.  “What will we do,” they cried. “If she lands, she will drown!” Two swans unfurled their beautiful white wings, flew up and caught the woman; they brought her down where they floated on the waves.  Everyone knew this could not go on for long, for the the swans would tire, and at some point the woman would need to sit down.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGI7sQjCMuY&feature=PlayList&p=C976375EFB94FCD0&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=1]

One by one the animals swam to the bottom of the ocean to see if they could bring up a little earth.  The big whales tried, the otter tried, animals large and small, all tried.  Finally, everyone was floating on top of the water very tired from all their efforts.  Little Muskrat swam over and shyly said, “I think I can do it.”  The other animals were too exhausted to even laugh at the thought.  She took a deep breath and dove as far as she could.  It took several tries, but finally, totally exhausted she floated to the surface with a little earth in her paw. “What will I do with it now?” she gasped. Turtle swam over, “Put it on my back, I have a broad back,” he said.  Immediately the land began to grow until it was big enough for the swans to step on shore and let the woman down.  She let go from her hands some seeds that came from the sacred tree she had been holding onto when she fell through the hole.  The land grew and grew and along with it, forests, grasses, plants and vegetables.  it was a wondrous sight, and that is how North America came to be created, and subsequently to be called Turtle Island.

[so this q(ues)t of the (divine) werd on the ground goes, (something) like a Prayer to the Seven Directions]

Grandfathers and Grandmothers of the East, each day you bring us new light so that we may grow in wisdom.  We have been waiting for the time when your light would shine in the hearts of all people.  Then they would remember the Original Instructions that were written in our hearts since the beginning of all things. Now is the time.

Grandmothers and Grandfathers of the South, your warm winds have sent us your love and the abundance from Mother Earth.  We have always known that as we follow the Original Instructions we will walk in balance and harmony and all our needs will be met.  The power and wisdom of this path is not easily understood when the mind is taught inside boundaries and the heart is closed to sissagwaad, the soft wind of spirit.  Open the heart of those who follow the way of the mind.

Grandfathers and Grandmothers of the West, in the darkness of night you have sent us dreams to see deep inside our hearts, to learn how to walk the path of the spirit.  We see the beauty that hides behind each moment and discover the Great Mystery that is in us and all things.  Help the people of the mind see the power of their dreams.  Help them learn from their dreams so that they can remember the Original Instructions.

Grandmothers and Grandfathers of the North, you have brought the cold winds and snows each year to cleanse our Mother Earth.  Now the cleansing of the mind has begun.  The energies of the stars have shifted into a new focus to end domination and hierarchy.  No longer is it possible to live by the mind unless it is guided by the heart. Blow the fresh, clean wind of spirit to sweep away the belief systems that limit our brothers and sisters who are trapped in the way of the mind.

Kee-shay Giidzhii Manidou, you have sent visions and dreams to help us remember Who we are.  We have not forgotten the Original Instructions.  The stories have now been rediscovered and returned to the people.   You have shown that the path of reconciliation and peace is through the heart.  Send the light of inspiration to the Ogichidaag‘ who will show others a new way of being.

Gee-mama-nama-kee, you are our Mother, our Source of Life.  You have given us our food, our water, air, shelter, and so many beautiful beings who are our Brothers and Sisters.  We know we are connected to you and to all other beings in the Web of Life.  Many are those who do not know of their connection.  They see only with their eyes and their mind.  With a narrow focus they see parts of things instead of the energy of love and wholeness.  They have forgotten the Original Instructions.  As their Mother, you have been patient with them.  Extend that patience a little longer so the Ogichidaag‘ can show them a new way.

Great Mystery, we feel your presence in us and in all things.  You are the spiral energy of love that connects all, is all.  You are the circle of life, the circle way, the Original Instructions.  When we are living in our heart, we can soar with the White Eagle to see beyond horizons.

When the drum has been smudged you can beat on it and say this prayer, either in English or Anishinaabemowin, the language of the Anishinabeg:

Midewewewigun, nindo-wiyauh.
I seek the drum.

And then:

N’midewewewigun, manitouwiyauwiwih.
Upon my drum bestow the mystery.

And to Ishpiming, All That Is:

M’gwech, Giidji manidou
Thanks, Great Spirit

Finally, an acknowledgement of the gift:

Kikinowautchi-beegaudae
It is so.

Your drum has been opened as a carrier of your prayers and petitions to the Great Mystery.

Other songs can be found in Ojibway Ceremonies by Basil Johnston from Bison Books (1990).

How the drum was brought to the Anishinabeg is told by Edward Benton-Banai in the Mishomis Book: the Voice of the Ojibway (1988) by Indian Country Communications, Inc.  The original drum was the water drum, mi-tig-wa-tik’ day-way-gun, and contained water to represent the First Order of Being.

In our drum this is replaced by the stone set in the handgrip to avoid the humidity that would otherwise soften the drumhead.  Later, the Anishinabeg added stones to the exterior ties of their drum.  The hide of the deer, wawashkesh’shee, gave peace and gentleness to the drum, as well as speed and agility to the drumbeat.

One of the ceremonial uses of the Mother Earth Drum is healing.  The first time I used the drum in healing, I heard the sissagwad, the soft wind of spirit, whisper to me to hold the drum over each chakra and beat softly.  It worked.  The next time that I did a healing, I did some energy work to break up blockages as I had been instructed to do.  Then I noticed my drum sitting nearby and realized that I was supposed to use it…but not beating it.  I was to caress the drum to make the sound of the wind whipping up a storm.  The with my fingernails scraping across the drum, make the sound of thunder, and, drawing the fingers close together the thunder disappears into the distance.  With more wind and more thunder comes the rain, the tapping of fingers making the multitude of raindrops striking the ground.  More wind, more thunder, more rain…and then quieter, more distant thunder, a gentling wind, diminishing raindrops.  Silence…  The hurts and pains were washed away and all was fresh and clean. Another time, a friend in Denver asked me to help me with one of her horses who had a wound that wouldn’t heal.  I thought: OK, some sage ceremony, some drumming.

I heard the sissagwad whisper. “No drumming.  Use the rattle.”

“What?!” I questioned.

The sissagwad repeated, “No drumming.  Use the rattle.”

“Impossible!” I thought.  I remembered the cowboy movies I had seen as a boy.  The horse hears the rattlesnake and panics, rearing high in the air.   And I was going to be right there under the flailing front feet of the horse.  How about drumming instead! I begged.

“No drumming.  Use the rattle.”

I did the sage ceremony, smudging the entire paddock and the horse.  The horse just stood perfectly still as I swept the smoke over the leg and then its whole body.

Then it was time for the rattle.  I began to shake the rattle, watchful of any hint of a dangerous response.  None.  It worked.  Then the horse “whispered” to me that ‘it had tickled.’  “What?” I asked.  “It tickled,” the horse repeated.  When the bandage was taken off too soon, it still tickled so I scratched it.”  I told Diana to keep the wrap on longer and the problem was solved.  A few months later I heard about the movie, The Horse Whisperer, but I knew that it worked BOTH ways—the horse can whisper to the human, too.

[This is an excerpt from Stories Dream-Catchers Weave.]

So listen to the sissagwad in your heart. Don’t get locked into any rigid ritual.  That’s a head thing, a mind thing.  Don’t misunderstand: the mind is good, but the intuition, listening to the soft wind of spirit in the heart, is an awesome source of wisdom beyond anything of which the mind is capable.

Another way to use the drum is to create a buzzing sound with each beat.  Medicine men would often place inside the drum a stick with lots of smaller sticks pressing lightly against the back of the drumhead. The multiple tones and harmonics are supposed to elicit healing.  With the Mother Earth Drum you can place the fingernail of your forefinger against the backside of the drumhead so that as you drum you will create a buzz.  Unlike the medicine drum, you can withdraw your fingernail from the backside of the drumhead and use a normal beat.  You can also use the tip of your finger to create a stop to a beat.  Or you can use the fingernail of your forefinger to scratch on the backside of the drumhead. In using and combining all of these drumming techniques, you have a diverse “vocabulary” of sounds that can be used as needed.  If your fingers are long enough you might even be able to use both your thumb and forefinger giving you two variations on the backside of the drumhead as well as the multitude of variations with the beater on the front of the drumhead. Your virtuosity is not limited to a change of volume and rhythms.

You will also find it very dramatic and powerful to strike the drumhead hard with the beater and hold the beater firmly against the drumhead.  It’s almost like an explosion and reverberates with a rising, ringing overtone.  Used with a crescendo of volume and rhythm, you can punctuate the finale of a sequence or, followed with quieter drumming and nuanced rhythms, you can create a symphony in percussion.  The thin design of the Mother Earth Drum makes this all possible.

The drum can also be used for meditation and shamanic traveling.  A constant, steady beat of the drum can alter consciousness.

Recovered from copyright theft of an unprincipled white squaw.

White Eagle Soaring: Dream Dancer of the 7th Fire

http://www.real-dream-catchers.com/Art_of_the_Seventh_Fire/mother_earth_drum.htm

kesho [in the q/t werd]…..the truth about (our) stories….behind the masks